Although the two events seemingly have nothing to do with each other, a new company called MetroKing has sprung up that hopes of manufacturing cabs in America just as former taxi maker Checker has filed for bankruptcy.
Starting with the underpinnings from a two-wheel drive Chevrolet Colorado Chassis Cab Work Truck, MetroKing replaces the pickup bed with a passenger compartment of its own design that features room for six occupants. The company points out that their design is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, being wheelchair accessible through a unique side access ramp. Interestingly, luggage rides alongside the driver on a dedicated tray, there is no passenger seating next to the driver. Thankfully, air conditioning is standard for the passenger compartment.
MetroKing offers its cab with either General Motors' 185-horsepower 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine or the larger 3.7L inline-five with 242-horsepower. In either case, both are mated to a standard four-speed automatic transmission.
We're not sure we care for the vehicle's London taxi-meets-cable-guy-truck aesthetics, but it's hard to argue with the potential versatility here. If nothing else, we like that the vehicle is built in the U.S. (Ford's Crown Victoria is built in Canada), and it has some nifty features, including a rear passenger compartment that can be removed as a single unit and refurbished for further use after its donor vehicle has been worn out. As veteran cab passengers, that sounds like a welcome development to us. Thanks for the tip, Michael!